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Hands-free driving laws get stricter in 2017

Californians should get ready for stricter hands-free driving laws. A new law going into effect on January 1, 2017 will restrict you from holding your phone for any reason while behind the wheel.

“I didn’t know about it. So it would be good to know about it, so I don’t get in any trouble,” said Jennifer Huynh of Oxnard.

“From a safety point of view, it is better, but I didn’t even know this was going to happen. So now I need to get some equipment in my car so I can put the phone in something. I did not know that,” said Jim Baron of Oxnard Shores.

Restrictions on cell phone use while driving in California have been in effect for more than ten years, but the old laws only prohibited texting or calling unless the driver was using a hands-free device, tasks like taking photos, or using your phone as a GPS were never explicitly prohibited. The goal of the new law is to close that loophole and prevent any use of your mobile phone unless it is in a hands-free mode.

There is an exception to the law. You will be allowed to make a single tap or swipe on your phone as long as the phone is mounted or fixed to the vehicle.

For many Californians, a cell phone car mount will be required if they want to use their phones navigation or music features.

If you get caught holding your phone while driving you could be fined 20 to 50 dollars for each offense.

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